Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Walking, not just talking, family values

Perhaps only Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland – and the remaining U.S. states without paid family leave – will be disappointed by this development, as their political cover is certainly diminished by it.

The Washington State Senate Ways and Means Committee will vote on a budget proposal (PHSB 2687) tomorrow that includes start-up funding and specific language ensuring Washington will be ready to provide Family Leave Insurance benefits to our children and their parents on schedule in October 2009.

It seems likely to pass out of committee. As noted earlier, similar funding was included in Governor Gregoire’s proposed budget as well as the House Appropriations Committee.

Should that same funding and budget language make it all the way back to the Governor’s desk to be signed, our elected officials will be able to go back to their constituents, look them in the eye and say they walked the line for family values this session.

As the New York Times noted today, policymakers in some other states are better at talking about those values than doing anything about them:

Members of Congress and state legislatures talk about family values. But unlike those in other developed countries, they have not done much to help workers with new babies or sick family members.

It’s time for more states in America to follow suit. … Elected officials would then be in a better position to talk about the importance of the family without sounding hypocritical.

Washington State is making a real commitment to healthier children and lower infant mortality, better economic security for working families, and more profitable businesses. Something to be proud of.

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